Click here for the PDF version of the 2012-2015 Strategic Plan.
Executive Summary
The Williamsburg Regional Library embarked on its third strategic planning process in February 2011. The planning committee reviewed the text of the 2006-2010 plan and the 2008 Strategic Plan Review. The committee also gathered feedback from the community, library users, and staff members.  The resulting plan for 2012-2015 features revised strategic directions. The library’s priorities are creating a comprehensive communications plan, expanding offerings of digital content, rearranging spaces in both library buildings, providing opportunities for staff development, and expanding service to teenagers.
The Williamsburg Regional Library continues to benefit from the support of our funding jurisdictions and the loyalty of our users. Over the next three years, we look forward to maintaining excellence in our collections, programs, and services as well as enhancing our position as a gathering place for the community.
Jean Van Tol
Chair, Library Board of Trustees
John A. Moorman
Library Director
The Williamsburg Regional Library’s strategic plan for 2012-2015 builds on the strengths of the 2006-2010 plan. Shaped by recommendations from library users and staff members, this plan features new mission and vision statements and reshaped strategic directions.
The development of the 2012-2015 plan allowed for the examination of new demographic information, consideration of issues that arose during the implementation of the previous plan, and inclusion of user feedback on digital content and social media. The resulting document gives users, staff members, boards, and funding agencies a clear statement of the library’s plans and priorities.
An electronic copy of this plan is available on the library’s website.
Planning Process
The Strategic Plan 2012-2015 Committee held its first meeting in February 2011. Over the course of the following year, the group considered the library’s mission, vision, planning assumptions, and core values. The committee also reviewed demographics as well as library user and staff input. Using this work as a foundation, the committee then developed a statement of the library’s strategic directions and priorities. The Williamsburg Regional Library’s Board of Trustees adopted the plan at its October 26, 2011 meeting.
Mission Statement
Free access to information is a foundation of democracy. Local governments provide that access for their residents by funding the Williamsburg Regional Library as a basic service.
The Williamsburg Regional Library offers excellent collections, programs, and services that inform, enrich, and strengthen our community.
Planning Assumptions
The City of Williamsburg, James City County, and York County will continue to fund the Williamsburg Regional Library for their residents.
Users will continue to expect excellent library collections, programs, and services.
User demand for digital content will continue to grow, as will the expectation for library communication through social media.
Users will continue to expect library staff members to assist them with technology.
The library will continue to collaborate with local businesses, not-for-profits, and community organizations.
The library will make the most of its existing buildings for users and staff members. The library will not pursue a new standalone building during this plan’s time frame.
Economic turmoil will continue to affect the Williamsburg Regional Library.
The Friends of Williamsburg Regional Library, the Williamsburg Regional Library Foundation, and individual, corporate, and foundation donors will continue to provide non-budgeted resources that allow the library to achieve and maintain the margin of excellence that residents expect from the library.
The populations of the City of Williamsburg, James City County, and York County will continue to grow. The rate of growth, however, will be slower than that which occurred during the library’s 2006-2010 Strategic Plan.
Core Values
The Williamsburg Regional Library supports freedom of speech and users’ right to select the information appropriate for their needs. Users’ borrowing records are confidential and protected from disclosure by Virginia law.
Each resident will receive the best library service possible. Everyone will be treated with courtesy and respect. We value community input on collections, programs, and services.
All forms of literacy are crucial to the life of our community. The Williamsburg Regional Library promotes literacy through collections, programs, services, and collaboration with community organizations.
An excellent library requires a talented, well-trained, and knowledgeable staff. The Williamsburg Regional Library provides opportunities for continuing education and training for all staff members. The library offers a positive workplace culture.
Each Williamsburg Regional Library Trustee and staff member is a steward of the public trust. All trustees and staff members exercise prudence with library resources.
Collaboration with community organizations helps the library achieve its vision and meet the needs of all community residents.
The greater Williamsburg area experienced large population growth between 2000 and 2010. The City of Williamsburg grew by 17 percent to a population of 14,068 and James City County grew by 39 percent to 67,009. Among the top ten fastest growing localities in Virginia, James City County ranked fifth.  Other areas of note include:
  • Proportional increase in the population aged 65 and over (from 16 percent to 19 percent of the total) between 2000 and 2010.
  • Proportional decrease in the population aged 0-19 (from 25 percent to 24 percent of the total) between 2000 and 2010.
  • Significant increase in the Hispanic population (from 2 percent to 5 percent of the total) between 2000 and 2010.  In Virginia as a whole, 8 percent of the population is Hispanic.
  • Proportional decrease in the African-American population (from 15 percent to 13 percent of the total) between 2000 and 2010. In Virginia as a whole, 19 percent of the population is African-American.
  • In 2009, a lower than average poverty rate (7.1 percent) in James City County; a higher than average poverty rate (20.3 percent) in the City of Williamsburg. The 2009 poverty rate in Virginia was 10.6 percent; the rate in the United States was 14.3 percent.
Community and Staff Input
During the planning process, the library sought opinions from users and staff members. A graduate class at the Mason School of Business at the College of William & Mary conducted four focus groups. The class selected two adult groups from the school’s database of local residents. Two teen groups, one male and one female, were also selected with the assistance of the library’s Youth Services Division and the Williamsburg-James City County Public Schools. These focus groups generated information on users’ perceptions of library collections, programs, and services. The class presented the library with a report on those perceptions and recommendations for the future.
The library also gathered users’ opinions through a survey that appeared on the library’s website and in paper form. Nine hundred twenty-one users completed the survey. In addition, 36 percent of library staff members shared their perceptions of how well the library had embraced the values identified in the 2006-2010 Strategic Plan.
As in the 2006-2010 Strategic Plan, users indicated a high degree of satisfaction with the library. A recent decision to restrict borrowing privileges to residents of the library’s funding jurisdictions received both positive and negative comments. Several themes emerged from the focus groups and surveys:
  • Many users are not aware of the collections, programs, and services the library offers.
  • Users expect the library to offer digital content such as e-books and to assist them in using that content.
  • The library should expand its services for teens.
  • Library staff members need more opportunities to learn and expand their knowledge and skills.
Strategic Directions
The Williamsburg Regional Library will focus its efforts on the following areas throughout the years of this plan. These directions are based upon knowledge of the community and its demographics, information gathered through the planning process, and the mission, vision, and values statements. The library will continue to build upon its reputation for excellence in collections, programs, and services.
Provide excellent service:
  • Put users’ needs and expectations first.
  • Treat all users with courtesy and respect.
  • Use technology where appropriate to enhance users’ experience.
  • Expand services for teens.
Provide excellent collections:
  • Ensure collections are up-to-date, well-used, and available in formats that meet users’ expectations.
  • Expand offerings of digital content.
  • Enhance collection access and use through technology.
Provide excellent outreach services:
  • Continue to provide Mobile Library Services to our community.
  • Develop a comprehensive communications plan (including social media) to promote library collections, programs, and services.
  • Explore options for delivering outreach services electronically.
Provide excellent programs:
  • While emphasizing programs for youth, offer programs that promote lifelong learning.
  • Offer programs that advance the library’s function as a community center.
Provide excellent facilities:
  • Ensure that meeting spaces and the Williamsburg Library Theatre are well-maintained, equipped with appropriate technology, and available to all groups.
  • Rearrange spaces in both library buildings to maximize their effectiveness for users and staff members.
  • Ensure that library vehicles are reliable and equipped to provide efficient, effective service.
  • Maintain clean, attractive, and safe library facilities.
Provide for excellence in daily operations:
  • Provide regular opportunities for staff members to develop and improve knowledge and skills.
  • Collaborate with community groups and organizations to enhance service delivery.
  • Adapt organizational structures to address library priorities.
The library’s priorities are creating a comprehensive communications plan, expanding offerings of digital content, rearranging spaces in both library buildings, providing opportunities for staff development, and expanding services for teenagers.
To remain a vital part of our community, the Williamsburg Regional Library must continue to be flexible and open to societal changes. These strategic directions will ensure that we remain responsive to users’ needs. We will assess our progress periodically during the plan through input from staff members, the library’s boards, and the community.
Strategic Plan Committee
Susan Geary, Chair
Library Board of Trustees: Susan Geary, William C. Porter, Jr.
Library Foundation Board: Victoria Gussman
Library Friends Board: Max Burry
Library Staff: John A. Moorman, Genevieve S. Owens, Melissa O. Simpson
Research Personnel
Community Input: Janet Crowther, Patrick Golden, Barry Trott
Demographics: Genevieve S. Owens
Focus Group Research:  MBA Research Team (Directed by Professor Lisa Szykman), The Mason School of Business at the College of William & Mary

Staff Input: Janet Crowther, Patrick Golden, Melissa O. Simpson, Barry Trott

The Library extends its appreciation to the Strategic Plan Committee, the research personnel, and to all staff members who participated in the development of this plan.